Cat in Ingham County becomes the first in Michigan to test positive for coronavirus

Posted at 11:07 AM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 11:07:25-04

(WXYZ) — The first case of the coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been identified in a domestic cat from Ingham County, the first case of coronavirus in a cat in the state.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 was identified in a domestic shorthair cat from Ingham County.

A number of pets have tested positive for the virus in the world, but this is the first case in Michigan.

The cat's owners tested positive for COVID-19 about a week before the cat become ill. The MDARD said the cat was tested after it began to sneeze and has since recovered.

“Given the other reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 being found in pets throughout the world, this detection is not unexpected,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “The cases in animals generally have involved direct contact with an owner or caretaker who was ill or tested positive for COVID-19.”

In the U.S., there have been 257 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in animals, including 99 cats.

The MDARD said there is no evidence to suggest animals play a significant role in the transmission of the virus to humans.

“COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Protecting pets begins by taking precautions to protect yourself by getting one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.”

Signs of SARS-CoV-2 in animals can include fever, sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you think your pet is sick with the virus or if you have concerns about your pet’s health, please contact your veterinarian.